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Broadband/Telecommunications Legislation Passes

posted May 19, 2014, 12:45 PM by Megan Chadwick Gernert - OIT   [ updated May 19, 2014, 12:54 PM ]

We are excited to announce that two broadband bills (HB14-1327 and HB14-1328) and three telecommunications bills (HB14-1329, HB14-1330 and HB14-1331) were passed during the recent legislative session and were signed into law by the Governor on May 9th (Telecom Bills) in Denver and May 10th (Connect Colorado Broadband Act - HB14-1328) in Gunnison!  Collectively, the bills respond to the demand to keep pace with technological change in support of the state’s economy, healthcare and education and do so largely through the deregulation of competitive telecom services and by providing incentives to build out broadband networks in high cost areas of the state.  The bills took effect immediately upon signature and efforts to implement them are underway.

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will be the primary state agency to implement the telecommunications bills  with multiple local and state government entities involved with the implementation of the broadband bills.  For the HB14-1328, specifically, the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) will lead the implementation of the broadband board and associated broadband fund grant process while the PUC is responsible for identifying any High Cost Support Mechanism (HCSM) funds no longer needed to support voice service that may be transferred to the newly created Broadband Fund.

The initial tasks required to implement HB14-1328 include:

  • Identification and appointment of Broadband Deployment Board members
  • Establishment of a Broadband fund for receipt of HCSM funds no longer needed to support voice services in high cost areas of the state
  • Once the board is established, development and implementation of a grant application and award process

As of this time OIT is unaware of any specific dates or timeframes that have been established for these goals. OIT is committed to working with all stakeholders to address these next steps. We will be continuing our regional planning efforts and LTPT activities as we believe local coordination will be even more critical moving forward. We will continue to provide updates as the next-steps take place to maintain the coordination.

This is an exciting time and an important first step in expanding broadband throughout the state. The effort to address the telecommunications and broadband issues in the state has been a long time coming and your work and dedication is a big reason we were able to take this huge first-step. There is still a lot of work to be done but we are confident the foundation that has been established will help us continue the momentum we have created.